So I did a hill repeat ride this week. It consisted of 5 trips up a grade on Schauber Road. Each climb only took a few minutes, but the recovery between each was about the same time. After the third repeat, I had that “why am I doing this?” feeling. The fourth one really hurt.
By the time I started the last one I knew that was it, so I eased up mentally – once I separated my mind from the sting in my legs I was really gliding up the hill. That probably impressed me more than anything else. I finished up with about 10 miles of flat to rolling terrain. I sure felt it the next day, but it wasn’t that bad – a good hurt.
It was about 150 feet gained each time and I definitely went into the red zone in the final 200 feet or so. According to Map My Ride there was a section at 13%! But it begs the question – why do it at all?
There’s something to be said about the purity of the effort but I think it goes a little past that. I’m not training for a race or anything that has a lot of climbing – I just want to impress myself. Prior to my time as a “serious” cyclist (about 5 years now) I was never an athletic person. In high school, I got a JV letter for bowling – an activity that can be aided by beer.
In some small way, suffering up a climb gives me a sense of worth. I know that I could never have dreamed of being able to do what I did on this ride back in my 20s. I guess the old saying “because it is there” applies here.
I hope I can wax so philosophical when I assault Lake Desolation Road later this year.